Assessment of cognitive and motor skills in Parkinson's disease by a robotic object hitting game

Winnugroho Wiratman, Shunsuke Kobayashi, Fang Yu Chang, Kohei Asano, Yoshikazu Ugawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Parkinson's disease (PD) patients experience various symptoms including extrapyramidal motor disturbances and cognitive impairments, which cause difficulties in daily life. However, PD patients have rarely been studied under realistic task situations that require high-level interaction of cognitive and motor skills. The aim of this study was to investigate the contribution of cognitive and motor factors to the performance of PD patients under high cognitive and kinematic loads. Twenty-six PD patients and 14 control subjects participated in the study. The PD patients performed a task involving hitting targets and avoiding distractors in levodopa On and Off states. A robotic manipulandum device recorded the numbers of target and distractor hits and hand kinematics, including movement area and speed. Performance on standard cognitive batteries and the Movement Disorder Society - Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale motor scores were examined. The results indicated that the PD patients hit significantly fewer targets and more distractors than did the controls (p < 0.05). In PD patients, the average hand speed was slower and the area of hand movement was smaller than those of the control subjects (p < 0.001). Levodopa significantly increased the average hand speed and movement area (p < 0.01), but levodopa had an insignificant effect on the number of correct targets hit and erroneous distractor hits. The scores of cognitive batteries predicted the performance with regard to both targets hit and distractor avoidance. Our results were indicative of a dynamic interaction between cognitive and kinematic skills while the PD patients performed a virtual reality game. Single-dose levodopa enhanced kinematic capacity, and the global intelligence level predicted game performance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number19
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
Issue numberJAN
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Cognitive performance
  • Decision-making
  • Executive abilities/function
  • Kinematics
  • Levodopa
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Virtual reality
  • Visual discrimination


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